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4 steps to using social media for your business
Today's consumers expect to be engaged and will turn a blind eye to anything that doesn't speak to them honestly and directly. People don't trust marketing anymore. They trust people. Especially people they know. Social media allow businesses to piggyback marketing on the social networks of their connections and their customers connections. In order to create an effective social media strategy that leads to more customers and less of you pulling your hair out over wasting time, learn a little more about how it all works, and before you 'send your first tweet' or 'update your next status', make a plan.
The steps below outline what you need to do in order to stop paying an arm and a leg for expensive ads and instead focus on building relationships with your customers in order to make it easy for your most energized customers to do your advertising for you. Stay tuned for the D-I-Y posts that will explain how to do each step. In the meantime, if you want to get started right away, contact us for a free social media consultation.
Step 1: Listening
The first step is determining who your customer base is and where they 'hang out' on-line. Once you've uncovered the popular hang-outs, you start the 'listening' phase in order to gauge what they are complaining, praising, and chatting about. During this phase you will also discover who the influencers are and uncover trends and vocabulary that your customer base is using to talk about products like yours.
Step 2: Participating
Now that you have a list of the hang-outs, the key players, and the lingo that they are using, you can begin participating in the conversation. This is not a chance for you to sell your products, but to build trust around your brand and the communicators who represent your brand. This is the beginning of your on-line reputation management.
Step 3: Energizing
Once you have become a participating member of your on-line customer base communities, you can begin to introduce promotional stories along with general conversation and helpful tips. Promotional stories make it easy for your fans to repeat the story across their own individual networks both on and off-line.
Step 4: Automation
While developing your social media strategy it will become clear which technologies you need to employ to reach your target market effectively. Most of these technologies are free or cost very little to use. The trick is knowing how to use them and how to eventually automate the process by implementing an aggregation strategy that notifies you of conversations you should participate in and a syndication strategy that allows you to upload information once and have it simultaneously broadcast across different platforms.
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